A big 4th celebration as Ted Davies turns 100

Local News

It’s more than the 243 birthday of the country for a man in Rock Island.

That’s because he’s been around for almost 40 percent of the nation’s history.

Several dozen family and friends showed up at Ted’s Boatarama Thursday afternoon for a party.

They came to help the founder Ted Davies mark his 100th birthday.

Ted Davies’s daughter Lisa Sparkman said, “We always knew where we were going to be on the Fourth of July.”

Ted Davies’s son Jim Davies said, “On the River.”

Lisa added, “We’re going to be with family.”

The Happy Birthday song is the anthem of the day for Ted Davies.

Lisa asked her father “Can you believe you’re 100?”

Ted said, “No, I didn’t, quite surprising.”

But it’s more than just a number that’s bring so many people to celebrate Ted’s day.

His two kids, Jim Davies and Lisa Sparkman said what their father is committed to is serving people.

Lisa said, “He’s touched a lot of people in all the different assets of his life, so a lot of people have worked with him. Socialized with him.”

There’s his service during World War II, fighting as a paratrooper for the freedom celebrated on his birthday.

Jim said, “He fought in the Battle of the Bulge.”

There’s the service he has for customers, first running service stations before opening the boat dealership with his wife. 

Jim said, “Had his boat at the service station and people said, who you work on boats. He said no. About the third or fourth one who asked him, he thought, maybe we do work on boats.”

But Ted’s Boatarama docked in Rock Island for more than 60 years isn’t his proudest achievement.

Ted said, “County board.”

Jim said, “The county board.”

He served as a Rock Island County leader for nearly 35 years, helping to pave the way for the justice center and caring deeply for the Niabi Zoo.

However, for his kids, they said some of his greatest services was to them.

Jim said, “Dad always taught me the measure of a man is if he does what he says he’s going to do.”

While he doesn’t know the secret to making it to 100…

Lisa asked, “What’d you do to get to be 100?”

Ted said, “I don’t know.”

Jim and Lisa said it’s his drive, care and knowing when to laugh.

Lisa said, “A lot of fun stories. A lot of fun stories.”

Ted was 91 when he ended his career on the county board.

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